The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Collected by Dr Diane
Africa, Oceania, Americas
Woman's festive costume
From Mariovo district, near Bitola, Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Early 20th century AD
The traditional costumes from Bitola and the surrounding area incorporate a large number of garments in each outfit. A complete bride's costume from the region could weigh up to 50 kg. This costume has nine elements. It is sleeveless, with separate fringed upper-arm sleeves. Knitted lower sleeves would also have been worn. Beneath the coat is a 10.5 metre sash.
Mary Edith Durham, a writer on the region who collected a very similar costume in 1903, observed: 'The body over the shirt is girthed with a hempen cord, wound round and round, and with the end twisted up in front. It forms a stiff and cumbrous sort of corset. The women declared they could not stand up without it.'
E.I. Dunin, Dance occasions and festive dr (Los Angeles, University of California Museum of Cultural History, Monograph Series no. 23, 1984)